Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Taza 5 Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Since there's always chocolate at my house, I have no excuse for not baking a chocolate cake.. but suppose I don't really want to make an entire cake. Suppose it's just me? 5 Minute Cake in a Mug to the Rescue. I've posted other recipes for 5 Minute Cake in a Mug, but this recipe from Taza, my favorite daily chocolate, is exceptional. Well, Taza Chocolate is exceptional! I have made this with the Taza Chocolate Mexicano (70% dark), but for variety, you could use the Taza Chiptole Chocolate or the Taza Orange Mexicano disc. Whichever you choose, you'll end up with the perfect single serving cake!

Recipe from the Taza Recipe Library.

Taza 5 Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Serves 1

2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 disc Taza Chocolate Mexicano, broken into several pieces
1 Tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp unsweetened Dark cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

In large mug, place butter and chocolate and microwave for 45 seconds.
In separate bowl, whisk together sugar, egg, cocoa, salt, flour, and baking powder until smooth, then add to mug and whisk until fully incorporated.
Microwave on high for 1 minute, allow to cool for a few seconds, and eat!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chocolate Covered Cranberries: Dried and Fresh

Autumn is all about Cranberries for me! I love cranberries--in muffins, in bread, in brownies, and cookies--and, of course, cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. I like both fresh and dried cranberries. This morning there was a discussion on Twitter about  Chocolate Covered Cranberries. Oh yes! You can buy Chocolate Covered Cranberries from lots of chocolatiers and stores (Trader Joe's) or you can make your own. It's really easy! 

History of Cranberries (from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association)

The cranberry, along with the blueberry and Concord grape, is one of North America's three native fruits that are commercially grown. Cranberries were first used by Native Americans, who discovered the wild berry's versatility as a food, fabric dye and healing agent. Today, cranberries are commercially grown throughout the northern part of the United States and are available in both fresh and processed forms.

The name "cranberry" derives from the Pilgrim name for the fruit, "craneberry", so called because the small, pink blossoms that appear in the spring resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane. European settlers adopted the Native American uses for the fruit and found the berry a valuable bartering tool.

American whalers and mariners carried cranberries on their voyages to prevent scurvy. In 1816, Captain Henry Hall became the first to successfully cultivate cranberries. By 1871, the first association of cranberry growers in the United States had formed, and now, U.S. farmers harvest approximately 40,000 acres of cranberries each year. 

Here are two recipes for Chocolate Covered Cranberries: One using fresh cranberries and one using dried cranberries. You'll love the tart and sweet together!


4 ounces Dark or Milk Chocolate
1/2 cup dried, sweetened Cranberries

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate in double boiler or in glass bowl in microwave. Once melted, remove from heat.
Add cranberries to chocolate. Stir until coated. Remove coated cranberries with two forks or slotted spoon (this works very well), shaking off excess chocolate on side of bowl. Transfer to lined baking sheet.
Put baking sheet in refrigerator until chocolate hardens, about 20 minutes.
Store in refrigerator.

Want to make Chocolate Covered Cranberries with Fresh Cranberries? Here's another great and easy recipe. 

Recipe adapted from Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association.

1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 (12 ounce) package milk chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate-if very dark, add a little sugar when melting the chocolate with shortening)
2 tablespoons shortening (butter)

Melt chocolate and butter (and sugar if you're using dark chocolate) over low heat, stirring frequently until melted.
Dip cranberries in chocolate until coated (remove from mixture with slotted spoon or two forks).
Place on wax paper (or parchment paper on a cookie sheet).
Refrigerate until firm.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Black Russian Truffles

Today is National Vodka Day, and there are some great Chocolate Vodkas on the Market. You can always make yourself a Chocolate Vodka Martini or a Chocolate Vodka Cake, but I'm a huge fan of Truffles. Here's a simple recipe for Black Russian Truffles.

A Black Russian is a cocktail made with vodka and coffee liqueur (three parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur, or five parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur). I love Kahlua, so that would be my coffee liqueur of choice in the following recipe.


8 ounces dark (70-85% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp sweet butter
3 1/2 Tbsp Kahlua
1 1/2 Tbsp Vodka
1 1/2 cups DARK cocoa  (or espresso powder or toasted walnuts)

Melt chocolate in doubleboiler or in pot on top of another pot of simmering water.
Heat cream and butter together in microwave or in pot (don't scorch). Remove from heat and pour over melted chocolate. Using rubber spatula, stir chocolate and cream/butter mixture gently until smooth.
Add liqueur and vodka. Stir until blended.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
Shape chocolate into 1-inch balls using melon baller or small ice cream scoop or two spoons (and then your hands).
Roll in cocoa (or pulverized espresso beans or toasted walnuts)
Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's. I like their mixes and products...and certainly their prices. I always have frozen TJ desserts in my freezer in case I don't have time to make something.

Here's a favorite recipe I found a few years ago on the Trader Joe's website for Rumble Cake. You can buy all the ingredients at Trader Joe's or you can mix and match with your own items. The beauty of this recipe is that it's filled with all kinds of different ingredients, and you can change them out, add, or delete! Don't you just love the name? Rumble Cake!

Let's Rumble!


1 stick Sweet Butter
2  Eggs
1 box TJ’s Truffle Brownie Mix
1/4 cup TJ’s Dried Tart Montmorency Cherries (I love these)
1/4 cup Walnut Halves and Pieces
1 box TJ’s Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Preheat oven to 350°.
Bring butter to room temperature and combine eggs with butter and whisk/ mix.
Slowly add in brownie mix.
Once mixture is uniform, add cherries and walnuts; set aside.
Lightly grease brownie pan and put chunks of cookie dough sporadically around bottom of pan (there may be a few pieces of cookie dough left, do with them what you must).
Pour brownie mix over top, evenly coating cookie dough.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.